Fighting for Their Lives

GEORGE OSODI/AP

CHAR HOUSE: A woman walks through the wreckage of Sabon Gida, destroyed last week

The line dividing Africa's Muslim north from its predominantly Christian south runs straight through the Nigerian state of Plateau. The boundary is normally hard to discern. For one thing, people in the same town can belong to different religions but work next to each other, cheer the same football team and even intermarry. But in Nigeria, every few years the divide becomes obvious and stark. Made desperate by poverty and joblessness, and often goaded by manipulative politicians, extremists on both sides go at each other in vicious battles. Plateau state, where cattle herders from the north and farmers from the south...

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